|Fiddleheads unfurling toward the Sun.|
This one is for the files.
Our mycophile clan has been slowly working on establishing relationships with other members of the boreal forest -- the plant life in particular (probably in part because they don't run away when you approach them!) In mid May, we spent a day with our eyes to the Ancients. It was a relatively warm Sproing afternoon in the Alaskan boreal forest, slanted sunlight dappling trees, soil & the emerging leafy ground cover. We were in search of three plants in particular, ancient plants, food plants.
Horsetail, Equisetum spp.
I once described them thusly: "...ancient, self-possessed, horsetails of the Paleozoic..." I would say that this characterization stands justified, particularly the self-possessed part. There is something imperturbable & untroubled about them. They can mingle with the roadside weeds & invasive plants of disturbed sites just as easily as they thrive among the native plants of the forest floor.
|Horsetail, Equisetum, spp.|
Fiddleheads, nonspecific (or, more specifically [honestly], I haven't keyed them out yet)
Cretaceous, perhaps even Devonian critters. Just what have they witnessed over the millennia?
Like the nautilus & Time itself, a sacred spiral.
Devil's Club, Oplopanax horridus
"Make sure you take a deep breath of its intoxicating ginseng scent. Make friends with this plant as I have and you will delight in it rather than fearing it." -- Tom Heutte, from the USDA Forest Service website
|Devil's Club leaf bud, |
"Don't bite off more than you can chew."
A recurrent lesson in foraging, as in Life. That evening we made some sublime Devil's Club sauté, lightly cooked with some sweet onions. They have a gentle, surprisingly pine-like flavour. But the fiddleheads & the horsetail remained in their refrigerator containers for a long time, strangely never spoiling, but certainly losing their vibrance. Enthusiasm must remain checked. I have always maintained a policy of deeply learning only one or two fungi species a season & never harvesting more than we can clean & prepare within adequate time time. I see how this translates to the plant kingdom as well. This is a lifetime endeavour & there is no reward at the end of the quick road or the overly abundant harvest.
Lesson (review) noted.
|Devil's Club, Oplopanax horridus leaf shoots sautéed with sweet onion.|